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Full text of "My country and my people"

IDEALS    OF    LIFE                            IO3
place between the two. Man knows where he belongs in the scheme of things and is proud of his position. Like the Chinese roof, and unlike the Gothic spires, his spirit does not aspire to heaven but broods over the earth. Its greatest achievement is to attain a measure of harmony and happiness in this earthly life.
The Chinese roof suggests, therefore, that happiness is first to be found in the home. Indeed, the home stands for me as a symbol of Chinese humanism. A masterpiece remains to be painted of an improved version of "Sacred and Profane Love." There should be three women instead of two, a wan-faced nun (or a missionary lady with an umbrella), a voluptuous prostitute, and a radiant mother in her third month of pregnancy. Of the three, the housewife should be the commonest, simplest, and yet most truly satisfying figure. They would thus stand for religion, humanism and naturalism, typifying the three ways of life.
Such simplicity is difficult, for simplicity is the quality of great minds. The Chinese have achieved this simple ideal, not by mere laziness of effort but by a positive worship of simplicity, or the Religion of Common Sense. How this was achieved we shall now see.
III. THE DOCTRINE OF THE GOLDEN MEAN
The religion of common sense or the spirit of reasonableness is part and parcel of Confucian humanism. It is this spirit of reasonableness which has given birth to the Doctrine of the Golden Mean, the central doctrine of Confucianism. Reference has already been made in the preceding chapter to the spirit of reasonableness, as contrasted with logic or reason itself. It has been shown there that the spirit of reasonableness is largely intuitive and practically identical with English common sense. It has been further shown that for a Chinese it is not enough that. a proposition be "logically correct"; it is much more important \ that it be "in accord with human nature."                               *
The aim of the Chinese classical education has always been the cultivation of the reasonable man as the model of culture.